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Applicability of CPC to Delhi Rent Control Act.

In the immediate matter, an objection is being raised as to the manner of service of summons
on the respondent. The tenant is the commissioner of police who is occupying the premises in
his official capacity and is running a police post. The rent controller issued a summons
addressed to the commissioner of police.
AVERMENTS
Where summons are to be served on a public authority, Order V Rule 27 of the Code of Civil
procedure dictates as follows;
27 Service on civil public officer or on servant of railway company or local
authority.- Where the defendant is a public officer (not belonging to the Indian
military naval or air forces, or is the servant of a railway company or local authority,
the court may, if it appears to it that the summons may be most conveniently so
served, send it for service on the defendant to the head of the office in which he is
employed together with a copy to be retained by the defendant.
The landlady herein seeks to evict the tenant on the ground of bonafide requirement of
premises as is provided under section 14 (1)(e) of the Delhi Rent Control Act. For eviction on
the basis of bonafide requirement, the process stipulated under section 25B (chapter IIIA) has
to be adhered to. Section 25B reads as follows;
25. B Special procedure for the disposal of applications for eviction on the
ground of bona fide requirement.
(1) Every application by a landlord for the recovery of possession of any premises on
the ground specified in clause (e) of the proviso to sub-section (1) of section 14, or
under section 14A [or under section 14B or under section 14C or under section 14D]
shall be dealt with in accordance with the procedure specified in this section.
(2) The Controller shall issue summons, in relation to every application referred
to in sub-section (1), in the form specified in the Third Schedule.
(3) (a) The Controller shall, in addition to, and simultaneously with, the issue of
summons for service on the tenant, also direct the summons to be served by registered
post, acknowledgement due, addressed to the tenant or his agent empowered to accept
the service at the place where the tenant or his agent actually and voluntarily resides
or carries on business or personally works for gain and may ,if the circumstances of
the case so require, also direct the publication of the summons in a newspaper
circulating in the locality in which the tenant is last known to have resided or carried
on business or personally worked for gain .
(b) When an acknowledgement purporting to be signed by the tenant or his agent is
received by the Controller or the registered article containing the summons is received

back with an endorsement purporting to have been made by a postal employee to the
effect that the tenant or his agent had refused to take delivery of the registered article,
the Controller may declare that there has been a valid service of summons.
(4) The tenant on whom the summons is duly served (whether in the ordinary way or
by registered post) in the form specified in the Third Schedule shall not contest the
prayer for eviction from the premises unless he files and affidavit stating the grounds
on which he seeks to contest the application for eviction and obtains leave from the
Controller as hereinafter provided; and in default of his appearance in pursuance of
the summons or his obtaining such leave, the statement made by the landlord in the
application for eviction shall be deemed to be admitted by the tenant and the applicant
shall be entitled to an order for eviction on the ground aforesaid.
(5) The Controller shall give to the tenant leave to contest the application if the
affidavit filed by the tenant discloses such facts as would disentitle the landlord from
obtaining an order for the recovery of possession of the premises on the ground
specified in clause (c ) of the proviso to sub-section (1) of section 14, or under section
14A.
(6) Where leave is granted to the tenant to contest the application, the Controller shall
commence the hearing of the application as early as practicable.
(7) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (2) of section 37, the
Controller shall, while holding an inquiry in a proceeding to which this Chapter
applies, follow the practice and procedure of a Court of Small Causes, including
the recording of evidence.
(8) No appeal or second appeal shall lie against an order for the recovery of
possession of any premises made by the Controller in accordance with the procedure
specified in this section:
Provided that the High Court may, for the purpose of satisfying itself that an order
made by the Controller under this section is according to law, call for the records of
the case and pass such order in respect thereto as it thinks fit.
(9) Where no application has been made to the High Court on revision, the Controller
may exercise the powers of review in accordance with the provisions of Order XLVII
of the First Schedule to the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908).
(10) Save as otherwise provided in this Chapter, the procedure for the disposal of an
application for eviction on the ground specified in clause (e) of the proviso to subsection (1) of section 14, or under section 14A, shall be the same as the procedure for
the disposal of applications by Controllers.
Section 25B is covered by an overriding clause, that is section 25A which reads as follows;
25A. - Provisions of this Chapter to have overriding effect.-

The provisions of this Chapter or any rule made thereunder shall have effect
notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained elsewhere in this Act or in
any other law for the time being in force.
This Chapter means chapter IIIA of the Act under which section 25B is contained.
A mere perusal makes it amply clear that section 25A mentions of instances wherein the
provisions of chapter IIIA are inconsistent with provisions contained elsewhere either in the
same Act or in any other law, in such an instance, the provisions of Chapter IIIA would
override. However, this section does not stipulate the possibility of the provisions under this
chapter being silent on any point of law.
The CPC specifically stipulates a distinct procedure where the person to whom the summons
is to be served is a public officer as against service on any ordinary individual. The provisions
of the Delhi Rent Control Act are however, silent on the same. It fails to make any distinction
with regard to an ordinary tenant or a tenant occupying the premises in his official capacity as
a public authority. To the extent that the special enactment is silent on any point, the general
law would prevail.
Under section 36 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, it is explicitly stated that the controller
has the same powers as are vested in a civil court under the CPC when trying a suit, in
respect of summoning.
Further more, Chapter VIII, under Rules of the Delhi Rent Control Act, Rule 23 reads as
follows;
3. Code of Civil Procedure to be generally followed.
In deciding any question relating to procedure not specifically provided by the
Act and these rules the Controller and the Rent Control Tribunal shall ,as far as
possible, be guided by the provisions contained in the Code of Civil Procedure,
1908.
Although section 25B read with Schedule III specifically provides the procedure and the
format for the eviction of tenant in the wake of bonafide requirement, it is silent as to the
person on whom such summons is to be served where such person is a public authority and is
acting in his official capacity. To the extent of such silence, the Code of Civil Procedure will
apply.
Section 4 of the Code of civil procedure elaborates on the Savings clause and reads as
follows,
(1) In the absence of any specific provision to the contrary, nothing in this Code shall
be deemed to limit or otherwise affect any special or local law now in force or any
special jurisdiction or power conferred, or any special form of procedure prescribed,
by or under any other law for the time in force.

(2) In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the proposition contained in
sub-section (1) nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or otherwise affect any
remedy which a landholder or landlord may have under any law for the time being in
force for the recovery of rent of agricultural land from the produce of such land.
In the absence of any specific provisions in the Act which are contrary to the provisions of CPC,
which would affect the rights of a party under special law or local law in force or such jurisdiction
conferred has to be applied to the case on hand. The test laid down in this section will not affect Order
V Rule 27 which deals with the service of summons on public officers because if the Delhi Rent
Control Act is deemed to be a special law as contemplated by s. 4, the aforesaid Rule 27 do not seek
to limit or affect the provisions of the Delhi Rent Control Act.

As per the rules of interpretation the provisions of an Act are to be interpreted keeping in
view the object of enactment of that Act. The important aspect to notice is that the overriding
effect of the provisions of the Act, scheme or rules made there under would be that only when
there is anything inconsistent in the said Act or rules or scheme vis-a-vis the other laws or
provisions. If the rules or schemes made under the Act are silent on any particular subject
matter and the other law requires any particular action being taken in respect there of, such a
law would have to be complied with.
When there is anything inconsistent in the said Act : Honble Supreme Court in the important
decision rendered in Karunanidhi vs. UOI (1979) 3 SCC 431; 1979 AIR 898; 1979 SCR (3)
254 held, inter alia, as follows :
Prima facie, there does not appear to us to be any inconsistency between the State
Act and the Central Acts. Before any repugnancy can arise, the following conditions
must be satisfied:That there is a clear and direct inconsistency between the Central Act and the State
Act.
That such an inconsistency is absolutely irreconcilable.
That the inconsistency between the provisions of the two Acts is of such a nature as to
bring the two Acts into direct collision with each other and a situation is reached
where it is impossible to obey the one without disobeying the other.
When there is anything inconsistent in the said Act : Further, Honble Supreme Court in
another important decision rendered in Hoechst Pharmaceuticals Ltd vs. State of Bihar AIR
(1983) SC 1019; 1983 SCR (3) 130; 1983 SCC (4) 45; 1983 SCALE (1) 723 held, inter
alia, as follows :
This Court has considered the question of repugnancy in several cases and in Deep
Chand v. The State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors.(1) the result of the authorities was
thus stated by Subba Rao, J.:
"Nicholas in his Australian Constitution, 2nd edn, p.303, refers to three tests of
inconsistency or repugnancy:

There may be inconsistency in the actual terms of the competing statutes;


Though there may be no direct conflict, a State law may be inoperative because
the Commonwealth law, or the award of the Commonwealth Court, is intended to be
a complete exhaustive Code; and
Even in the absence of intention, a conflict may arise when both State and
Commonwealth seek to exercise their powers over the same subject-matter."

As held by Honble Supreme Court in the aforesaid important decisions rendered in


Karunanidhi vs. UOI (1979) 3 SCC 431; Hoechst Pharmaceuticals Ltd vs. State of Bihar
AIR (1983) SC 1019 and other cases, the material test of inconsistency is that both the
provisions under consideration should not be able to stand together i.e., if one is followed,
the other, in the result, would be violated. This may arise by reason of direct conflict or
indirectly by the later law occupying the same field, as the earlier one.
With regard to the applicability of the CPC to the proceedings before the rent controller, in
Soni @ Bhuthulasi And Ors. vs Kunda Nageswara Rao And Anr. on 31 January, 1991 (1991
(3) ALT 200), it was held as follows,
3. So far as the general question as to whether the provisions of the C.P.C. apply to
proceedings before the Rent Controller is concerned, it is sufficient to refer to the
guarded language in the Division Bench judgment in Harikishan Singh v. B.
Narayana, 1969 (2) APLJ 290 wherein it was observed that the C.P.C. does apply
provided there was no adequate provision in the Act or Rules and provided it does not
offend the Scheme and Purpose of the Act. Ekbote and Kuppuswami, JJ (as they then
were) observed as follows:
" We are inclined to agree with the view that the provisions of the C.P.C. would, as far
as possible, be applied to the proceedings under the Rent Control Act, in cases where
no adequate provision is made in the Act or in the Rules and provided that the
provisions sought to be supplied are not inconsistent with any express provisions of
the Act or with the scheme and purpose of the enactment"
4. The above view of the Division Bench has been approved by a Full Bench of five
Judges in P.N. Rao v. K. Radhakrishnamacharyulu, (FB) by adopting the same words
of caution.
Also in P.N. Govindan vs Abdul Kari Subaida Beevi on 23 May, 1997 (AIR 1998 Ker 50) ;
8. However, having regard to the scheme of the Act especially the provisions
contained in Section 23, it has been held that the procedural provisions of the CPC

may be applied to rent control proceedings in the absence of an express provision to


the contrary, or in the absence of a conflict between the provisions of the CPC and the
provisions of the Act or the Rules framed there under (See Pius v. Albina Rozario,
1990 (1) Ker LT 104).
It is further submitted that subsection (7) of section 25A of the Delhi Rent Control Act states
that the Rent controller while holding any enquiry to a proceedings to which Chapter IIIA
applies, he would be required to follow the practice and procedure of the Court of Small
Causes.
The Civil Procedure Code of 1908 is made applicable to all Courts of Civil Judicature
unless the whole or portions of it are declared not applicable to any Court or the
jurisdiction of any Court. Section 7 enacts that certain provisions of the Civil
Procedure Code shall not extend to Courts constituted under the Small Cause Courts
Act, 1887, or to Courts exercising jurisdiction of the Court of Small Causes under that
Act. Under Order 50 it is provided that certain provisions of the Civil Procedure Code
shall not extend to Courts constituted under the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act,
or to Courts exercising jurisdiction of the Court of Small Causes under that Act.
Order 5 (Summons) is not one of the orders mentioned in Order 50. Order 5 of the
Civil Procedure Code is, therefore, applicable to the Court of Small Causes or Court
exercising small cause jurisdiction.
Section 25B(7) is parimateria Section 37(2) of the same act and while interpreting section
37(2) in Central Bank of India v. Gokal Chand, the Supreme Court held as follows;
"IF full effect is given to the provisions of section 37(3), it must be taken as if
the procedural provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure as applicable to a
Court of Small Causes are written with pen and ink in the Delhi Rent Control
Act, 1958."
"IT must therefore, be held that subject to any rules that may be made under
the Delhi Rent Control Act and Such provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure,
as relate to the practice and procedure of a Court of Small Causes, stand
incorporated in the Delhi Rent Control Act and any order made under any
such provisions would be an order made "under this Act" within the meaning
of section 38 of the said Act."
The Supreme Court therefore, accepted the view taken by the High Court that the
Controller under the Act has available to him all those provision of the Code which
are available to a Court of Small Causes.

MORE CASES;
Applicability of General Law to Special Enactment
1. Gandham Satyanarayana vs. Sirangam Satyanarayana Murty
LAWS(APH)-1967-2-15
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
The tenant carried the matter in appeal. The Subordinate Judge, Amalapuram by his judgment dated 27th
July, 1966 dismissed the appeal. The principal contention of the learned Advocate for the petitioner is that
since there is no provision in the Act or the rules made thereunder which can be said to be parallel to Order
6, rule ] 7, Civil Procedure Code, the Rent Controller was not competent to grant any permission to amend
the petition. I do not think that I can give effect to this contention. It is relevant to notice section 4, Civil
Procedure Code, in this connection. Section 4, Civil Procedure Code, in so far as it is relevant runs as
follows :
"4. (1) In the absence of any specific provision to the contrary, nothing in this Code shall be deemed to
limit or otherwise affect any special or local law now in force or any special jurisdiction or power
conferred, or any special form of procedure prescribed, by or under any other law for the time being in
force. "
A reading Of this section would indicate that when anything in the Civil Procedure Code, is
in conflict with anything in the special or local law or with any special jurisdiction or power
conferred, or any special form of procedure prescribed by or under any other law, in the absence of
any specific provision to the contrary, the Code will not prevail so as to override such inconsistent
provisions. It is necessarily implied that when there is no such conflict the Code will apply. This is
based on the principle that the special law prevails over the general law. It must be remembered that
the Civil Procedure Code, or any analogous law being an adjective law is not primarily intended to
create new rights or to take away existing rights. It mainly regulates the procedure in Courts. If the
Act and the rules made thereunder, in other words, the special law or the local law which prescribes
a particular procedure, is silent on any specific procedure, it must necessarily follow that the
relevant provisions of the Civil Procedure Code, would be applied to such a case as it cannot be said
that such an application would be inconsistent with the special or local law.

( 3. ) IN this case, admittedly there is no provision authorising the Rent Controller to permit the
amendment of pleadings on the lines of Order 6, rule 17, Civil Procedure Code, which permits the ordinary
civil Courts to allow the amendment of pleadings conferring Very wide powers on them. No specific
provision of the Act or the rules was brought to my notice which can be said to be inconsistent with Order
6, rule 17, Civil Procedure Code. It will thus be evident that the Act and the rules do not contain any
provision in regard to the Rent Controller br the appellate authority having the power to grant permission
to amend the pleadings. Does that mean that the Rent Controller OF the appellate authority will have no
competence to permit necessary amendments ? I do not think that the Rent Controller or appellate authority

has no such power. IN the absence of any specific provision, I have no manner of doubt that the
relevant rule of the Civil Procedure Code, would apply. It is pertinent in this connection to note the fact
that now the cases arising under the Rent Control Act are being tried by the District Munsifs, that is to say,
the civil Courts. When those proceedings are conducted not before the Tahsildar or the revenue authorities
who were formerly the Rent Controllers, but are now being dealt with by civil Courts, in all cases where
there is no conflict between the Rent Control Act and the rules made thereunder and the Civil
Procedure Code or wherever the Act or the rules made thereunder are silent on matters relating to
procedure, the relevant provisions of the Civil Procedure Code, can certainly be relied upon. I am
fortified in my conclusion by the following decisions. IN Pranballav Saha v. Subodh Kumar, (1954)
58 C.W.N. 910. a Bench of the Calcutta High Court held
"As no procedure has been prescribed, by any rules made in the exercise of the rule-making Power
contemplated in section 47 (1) and (2), in connection with the trials of suits under section 16 of the
Rent Control Act, 1950, section 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure cannot stand in the way of the
application of the principle laid down in Adaikappa's case .(1947) L.R. 74 I .A. 264: I.L.R. (1948) "
IN Adaikappa Chettiar v. Chandrasekhara Thevar, (1947) L.R. 74 I .A. 264: I.L.R. (1948) their
Lordships of the Privy Council held :
" Where a legal right is in dispute and the ordinary Courts of the country are seized of such dispute
the Courts are governed by the ordinary rules of procedure applicable thereto............"
IN Mohammed Baqar v. Mohammed Casim, A.I.R. 1939 Oudh 210 at 913 (F.B.). mad. 505 : (1948) 1
M.L.J. 41 a Full Bench of the Oudh Court held as follows :
"If the Act by necessary implication and having regard to its objects and purposes authorizes an
inquiry, it is immaterial that no specific procedure is prescribed by the Act itself. IN the absence of
any specific provision to the contrary in any special or local law, the ordinary rules of procedure
would apply : vide section 4, Civil Procedure Code, 1908. "
It is relevant to notice another decision of this Court in T. Venkatesam v. A. Krishnaiah., (1966) a
An.W.R. 245. It must be remembered that where one statute deals with a subject in general terms,
such as Civil Procedure Code, and another deals with a part of the same subject in the prescribed
way such as the Rent Control Act and the rules made thereunder, the two should be harmonized, if
possible. But, if there is any conflict, the special or local law would naturally prevail. But in case the
special law or local law is silent on any particular aspect of the procedure, section 4, Civil Procedure
Code, does not stand in the way in having recourse to the relevant provision of the Civil Procedure
Code in this case Order 6, rule 17, Civil Procedure Code. This conclusion can also be supported on
the principle that where enabling statutes omit some detail of procedure, the Courts have ancillary
powers to deal with the situation appropriately. Craise on Statute Law, Sixth Edition, at page 111
states as follows:
"If a statute is passed for the purpose of enabling something to be done, but omits to mention in
terms some detail which is of great importance (if not actually essential) to the proper\ and effectual
performance of the work which the statute has in contemplation, the Courts are at liberty to infer
that the statute by implication empowers that detail to be carried out. "

2. Mohd. Hashim Masood vs State on 30 September, 1999


Equivalent citations: 1999 VIAD Delhi 609, 82 (1999) DLT 272

8. Section 26 of the Code of Criminal Procedure prescribes the Criminal Courts by which the
offences under the Penal Code or other laws are tri- able. The combined effect of the provisions of
Sections 4,5 and 26 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is that all the offences punishable under the
Penal Code are to be investigated, inquired into, tried or otherwise dealt with according to the
provisions contained in the Code. All offences under any law other than the Indian Penal Code shall
also be investigated, in- quired into, tried or otherwise dealt with according to the provisions of Code
of Criminal Procedure but subject to any specific provision under the particular law regulating the
manner or place of investigating, inquiring into, trying or otherwise dealing with such offences.
Where any special enactment provides special procedure only for some matters, such procedure
will govern those matters and in regard to the other matters on which the special enactment is
silent, the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure will be applied.

3. Asmita Agarwal vs The Enforcement Directorate And ... on 22 November,


2001
Equivalent citations: 2002 CriLJ 819, 95 (2002) DLT 468, 2002 (61) DRJ 339
7. Contention of Mr. K.K. Sud, Addl. Solicitor General, that by directing to investigate here at here
residence there has been a violation of the provision of FERA. We find no substance in this
contention. Section 4 of the Code of Criminal Procedure deals with the trial of offence under the
Indian Penal Code and other laws. Perusal of Sub Section 2 of Section 4 show that all offences
shall be investigated, inquired into, tried, and otherwise dealt with under the same provision
and the Code subject to the condition that if there is any enactment or a special Code regulating
the manner or place of investigating, inquiring into, trying or otherwise then the Code will not
apply. But as already pointed out above, FERA even though a special Code or enactment,
nowhere provides as to where the investigation of woman is to be carried. therefore,e in the
absence of any provision available in the special enactment, the provision of Code would apply
as laid down under Section 4(2) of the Code. In this respect reference can be made to the decision
of the Supreme Court in the case of Directorate of Enforcement v. Deepak Mahajan and Anr. (Supra).
Inthis case Apex Court held that the operation of Section 4(2) of the code is straightaway attributed to
the areas of investigation, enquiry and trial of offences under the special laws including the FERA and
the customs. Section 4 is comprehensive and that Section 5 is not in derogation of Section 4(2) of the
Code. it only relates to the extent of application of the Code in the matter of territorial and other
jurisdiction but does not nullify the effect of Section 4(2) of the code. It has further been observed
that the provision of the Code would be applicable to the extent in the absence of any contrary
provision in the special Act or any other special provision excluding the jurisdiction or
applicability of the Code. That reading of Section 2 of the Code r/w Section 26(b) which governs
any criminal proceeding as regards the course of which an offence is to be tried and as to the
procedure to be followed renders the provision of the Code applicable in the field not covered by
the provision of FERA or Customs Act. Admittedly, Apex Court in Deepark Mahajan's case (Supra)
was not dealing with the proviso of Section 160 Cr.P.C. but was dealing with the applicability of
Section 167 of the Code to a case to be filed under FERA. It is not denied that Section 160 and

Section 167 of the Code fall under the same Chapter i.e. Chapter XII under the title "Information to
the police and their power to investigate". It was while dealing with and interpreting Section 167
Cr.P.C. under Chapter XII the Apex Court made the observation in Deepark Mahajan's case (Supra).
The fact of the matter is that once the special legislation or enactment like FERA is silent with regard
to certain procedure like where to investigate a woman, one cannot but have to have recourse to the
code. Admittedly FERA is silent in this respect regarding investigation a woman or a minor under the
FERA, therefore, we are of the view that the provisions of Section 160 of the code would apply in the
facts of this case. It may, however, be made clear that the petitioner will fully co-operate with the
investigating officer.

4. Shah Babulal Khimji vs Jayaben D. Kania And Anr on 10 August, 1981


Equivalent citations: 1981 AIR 1786, 1982 SCR (1) 187

"Revenue Court" in Sub-section (1) means a court having jurisdiction under any local law to
entertain suits of other proceedings relating to the rent, revenue or profits of land used for
agricultural purposes, but does not include a Civil Court having original jurisdiction under
this Code to try such suits or proceedings as being suits or proceedings of a civil nature "
The importance of this section is that wherever the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure
are sought to be excluded by any special enactment which may be silent on the point, the
State Government can by notification apply the provisions of the Code to Revenue courts. A
bare perusal of this section would clearly reveal that excepting Revenue courts all other Civil
courts would normally be governed by the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure in the
matter of procedure. Section 4(1) of the Code of 1908 which is a saving provision clearly
provides that in the absence of any specific provision to the contrary the provisions of
the Code does not limit or affect any special or local law. Thus, the test contained in s. 4
is not applicable in the instant case because even if the Letters Patent of the High Court
be deemed to be a special law as contemplated by s. 4, the provisions of s. 104 do not
seek to limit or affect the provisions of the Letters Patent.

Nature of proceedings before rent controller.


1. RAJU V. MOHAMADABI (Madras High Court)
On the contrary, it is contended by the learned counsel for the landlord that Rent Controller
is a persona designata he is not a court. Further, Rule 18 of the Rules specifically provides
the period during which an application has to be filed for setting aside the ex parte order of
eviction. When the rule specifically provides a time limit for filing an application and does
not provide for condon-ing the delay if an application is filed beyond the prescribed period
and at the same time, the provisions of Sec. 5 of the limitation Act are not expressly extended

to such proceeding, it follows that sec. 5 of the Limitation Act is not attracted to the
proceeding governed by Rule 18 of the Rules. 5. Therefore, the first question that has to be
determined is as to whether the Rent Controller exercising the power under the Act, functions
as a court or not. The powers conferred upon the Rent Controller as contained in Secs. 5,
6, 14, 15 and 17 would go to show that the Rent Controller exercise the powers of a court.
He adjudicates the rights of the landlord and the tenant in respect of the premises
governed by the Act. The proceedings before him are of civil nature involving civil rights.
The decision of the Rent Controller is appealable to the appellate authority, which is a
judicial authority. The order passed by the Rent Controller is executable, as if it were a
decree. Therefore, it is clear that the Rent Controller cannot be considered to be a persona
designata. Persona designata is one whose appointment is made not with the common
designation of the post, but with reference to a person who is appointed as such. As pointed
out by the Supreme Court, a persona designata is a person who is pointed out or described as
an individual, as opposed to a person ascertained as a member of a class, or as filling a
particular character-see: central Talkies Limited v. Dwarka Prasad, A. I. R. 1961 S. C. 606:
(1962)2 S. C. J. 41: (1961)3 S. C. R. 495: I. L. R. (1961)2 All. 521. Again, Jugal Kishore v.
Sitamarhi Central Co-operative Bank, A. I. R. 1967 S. C. 1494: 1967 Crl. L. J. 1380: (1967)2
S. C. W. R. 460: (1967)2 S. C. A. 428:i. L. R. 46 Pat. 942, it has been held that the Registrar
who exercises the powers under Sec. 48 read with sec. 6 (2) of Bihar and Orissa Cooperative Societies Act, is a court and not apersona designata. In order to determine whether
he is a court or apersona designata, it has been pointed out by the Supreme Court in that
case that the registrar is not apersona designata, because the duties he discharges under the
said Act, fall within the purview of the ordinary civil and revenue courts of the land. The
Registrar has not merely the trappings of a court but in many respects, he is given the same
power as one given to ordinary civil courts of the land by the Code of Civil Procedure
including the power to summon and examine witnesses on oath, the power to order
inspection of documents, to hear the parties after framing issues to review his own order and
even exercise the inherent jurisdiction of courts mentioned in Sec. 151 of the Code of Civil
procedure. Under the Act in question, the Rent Controller adjudicates the civil rights of the
parties, examines the parties, records the evidence of the witnesses that are produced and
he is also empowered to summon the witnesses to give evidence. Therefore, he has got all
the trappings of a civil court. In g. D. M. Rao v. Ranga Panaiah and Brothers, A. I. R.
1975 A. P. 13: (1974)2 An. W. R. 139:1975 Ren. L. R. 259, it has been held that Rent
Controller acting under acting under the Rent Control Act is a court and the provisions of
Sec. 5 of the limitation Act are applicable to the proceedings before the Rent Controller
under the Andhra Pradesh Buildings (Lease, Rent and Eviction) Control Rules, 1961. It
has been further held that an application under Sec. 5 of the limitation Act to condone delay
in filing an application to set aside an ex parte order of eviction of the Rent Controller is
maintainable. In addition to this, learned counsel has placed reliance on a decision of this
Court in p. Rajappa v. Fareeda Beevi, (1991)2 L. W. 193. It may be pointed out that in this
case, the applicability of Sec. 5 of the Limitation Act to an application filed under the Tamil
Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1960 for setting aside an exparte order of
eviction was considered and it was held that the provisions of Sec. 5 of the Limitation Act
were attracted, following an earlier decision of this Court in E. K. Venkaimarban v.

Dakshinamurthy, 94 L. W. 243. Thus, the powers exercisable by the Rent Controller under
the Act and the rights adjudicated by him of the parties, undoubtedly, land to a conclusion
that the Rent Controller is a court. If that be so, in the absence of any specific provision
excluding the application of Sec. 5 of the Limitation Act and in view of the provisions
contained in Secs. 3 and 5 of the Limitation Act, it shall have to be held that the provisions of
Sec. 5 of the Limitation Act are attracted to an application filed under the Act for setting
aside an ex parte order of eviction passed by the Rent Controller. Consequently, it follows
that the learned District Judge is not right in holding that the Rent Controller is not justified
in applying the provisions of Sec. 5 of the Limitation Act. The learned Appellate Authority
has not considered the appeal on merits.
2. T.V. Subba Rao vs T. Koteswara Rao on 19 January, 1962
Equivalent citations: AIR 1963 AP 37
The expression 'Court' is not defined in the Civil Procedure Code nor in the General Clauses
Act. There is a definition in the Indian Evidence Act which is more an inclusive definition. It
is as follows;
"'Court' includes all Judges and Magistrates and all persons, except arbitrators, legally
authorised to take evidence".
For the purposes of this definition, any person, even though he is not a Judge or a Magistrate
and who is not an arbitrator, would be a Court if he is legally authorised to take evidence. The
scope of the expression 'Court' came up for consideration in quite a few decisions. Before I
advert to the same, it may be mentioned that ordinarily a body or tribunal would be a Court
provided it has the legal power (1) to record evidence and (2) to make a decision on a matter
in contest or issue between two opposite parties so as to bind the parties before it: in law. The
same idea may also be expressed by stating that a Court is a body exercising judicial
functions under the authority of law.
8. In Nilmoni Singh Deo v. Taranath Mukerjee, ILK 9 Cal 295 the Privy Council had to
consider whether Rent Courts exercising jurisdiction under the Bengal Act X of 1859,
could be regarded as Civil Courts and their Lordships held that the Rent Courts under
that Act were Civil Courts and subject to the jurisdiction of the High Court.
9. In Rajdh of Venkalagiri v. Mahaboob Saheb, AIR 1944 Mud 139 the question came to be
considered at some detail. The question there was whether the Collector exercising the
special jurisdiction or the power conferred by the Madras Agriculturists Relief Act (IV of
1938) could be regarded as a court subject to the revisional powers of the High Court. The
learned Judges therein held that the Collector exercising powers under the
Agriculturists Relief Act acts as a Court and that that Court being charged with the

duty of deciding rights of a Civil nature must be regarded as a Civil Court, and that
that Court is subject to the revisional jurisdiction of the High Court. The following
observations may be referred to with advantage;
"To say that the Collector's Court is a 'Civil Court' within the meaning of this section will be a
simple and complete solution of the problem. In our judgment, it is also the correct solution.
The preamble to the Code indicates that it is an Act to consolidate and amend the law relating
to the procedure of the "Courts of Civil Judicature". There can be little doubt that in the
present case the Sub-Collector and the District Collector were hearing and determining
disputes of a Civil nature and we see no sufficient reason why the proceedings before them
should not be regarded as 'civil proceedings' and their Courts as 'Civil Courts' for the
purposes of Section 3. It is very difficult to suppose that the Legislature in enacting, us part of
a consolidating Code, a provision dealing with the subordination of Courts in the hierarchy of
Civil Courts in the country, could possibly have left out of account an important class of
Courts dealing with class of Courts dealing with particular kinds of Civil Proceedings
assigned to them by special or local laws.
This conclusion is, we think supported by the decision of the Privy Council in ILR 9 Cal 295
(PC). We are of opinion that the expression 'Civil Courts' must receive the same meaning in
Section 3 of the Present Code. The whole argument against this view of Section 3 has been
based on Sections 4 and 5 corresponding to which there were no provisions in the Code of
1859. But as pointed out in Aga Mahomed Hamadani v. Cohen, ILR 13 Cal 221 with
reference to Section 4 the meaning of that kind of saving clause is that if anything in the Code
is found to conflict with any special or local law, the Code shall not prevail to override the
inconsistent provisions of such law. There is nothing in the Madras Agriculturists Relief Act
inconsistent with the view that a Collector acting under Section 15(4) of that Act as a Civil
Court within the Code, and Section 4 can, therefore, have no bearing on the construction of
Section 3. As for Section 5, it deals with the application of the Code to revenue Courts
and enables the Provincial Government, 'where any revenue Courts are governed by the
provisions of this Code in those matters of procedure upon which any special enactment
applicable to them is silent;' to declare that any portions of the Code shall not apply to
such Courts or shall only apply with such modifications as may be prescribed. For this
purpose, it was necessary to define a 'Revenue Court' and Sub-section (2) naturally
excludes from the defini turn the ordinary Civil Court exercising original jurisdiction
under the Code. This however, hardly justifies in our opinion, any general implication
that a 'revenue Court' is not a "Civil Court' within the meaning of the Code, and we see
no reason to import the distinction into the construction of Section 3. On the other hand,
the opening words of Section 5(1) assume that revenue Courts are governed by the Code

in those matters of procedure upon which any special enactment applicable to them is
silent. This can only be because the Code regards these Courts either as being "Courts
of Civil Judicature" the procedure of which is regulated by it (See the preamble) or as
being 'Courts of civil jurisdiction' within the meaning of Section 141. A reference to the
history of Section 5 makes the position reasonably plain. The decision of their Lordships
in ILR 9 Cal 295 (PC) was given just a few months after the Code of 1882 was passed. In
1883, a Full Bench of five Judges of the Allahabad High Court had to consider whether
Sections 43 & 373 of the Code were applicable to proceedings before the rent courts
established under the N.W.P. Rent Act 1881, & the learned Judges by a majority of four
to one followed the judgment in ILR 9 Cal 295 (PC), and answered the reference by
saying that the revenue Courts of these provinces in those matters of procedure upon
which the "Rent Act" is silent are governed by the provisions of the Civil Procedure
Code............In 1885, the Calcutta High Court in Adhirani Narain Kumari v. Mahapatro, ILR 12 Cal 50 followed the Allahabad decision. These decisions led to the
introduction of Section 4-A (corresponding to the present Section 5) in the Code of 1882
by Act 8 of 1888, in order, evidently to make the position as enunciated by the Allahabad
Full Bench clear by legislation, adopting the very language used by the learned Judges.
So far, therefore, from Section 5 affording any ground for supposing that a general
distinction between civil and revenue Courts is maintained in the Code, it strongly
supports the view that the Code is applicable to revenue Courts also except, of course,
where it is excluded by any special or local law or by any inconsistent provisions of such
law or by notification by the provincial Government. It follows that the declaration of the
relative subordination of 'Civil Courts' in Section 3 for the purposes of the Code must be
taken to cover revenue Courts as well in the absence of any saving of such Courts, and they
must be deemed to be subordinate to the High Court and subject to its revisional jurisdiction
under Section 115."
11. In Sriramarao v. Suryanarayanamurthi, Venkatarama Ayyar, J. had to consider the nature
of the proceedings before the Registrar of Co-operative Societies under the Co-operative
Societies Act and whether these bodies could be regarded as Courts subject to the revisional
powers of the High Court. The learned Judge held in that case, that Courts which decide
disputed rights between subjects or between a subject and the State would be Civil Courts as
opposed to criminal Courts, where the State vindicates wrongs committed against the public,
and that courts constituted for deciding purely civil questions between persons seeing their
civil rights must be considered to be civil Courts, notwithstanding that they are created by a
special statute and are mentioned in that statute as distinct from Civil Courts, and that the true
import of such a distinction is that while special Courts have jurisdiction over a limited class
of suits specified in the statute, the jurisdiction of the Civil Courts is not limited to any class
of suits. Accordingly the learned Judge held that the Registrar functioning under the Cooperative Societies Act is a Civil Court within the meaning of that expression in Section 25 of

the Debt Conciliation Act and the decision reached by him is subject to the revisional powers
of the High Court. The decision in AIR 1944 Mad 139 was followed by a Division Bench
of this Court in Narasaiah v. Estates Abolition Tribunal, Chittoor, AIR 1957 Andh Pra
903 wherein it was held that revenue Courts are Civil Courts. The judgment of Patanjali
Sastry, J. was quoted with approval to the effect that rent Courts being Civil Courts are
subject to the revisional jurisdiction of the High Court under Section 115, C.P.C.